40K fleet numbers analysis thread

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40K fleet numbers analysis thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-08 03:28am

Okay, this is a new essay, and this will be more interactive than the last. The purpose? To more thoroughly analyze and quantify the space based assets (warp capable and not) of the Imperium of Man. Its not, to my knowledge, has not been very well defined. But the potential (or estimated potential) is staggering, at least to prior beliefs or estimates.

Of additional mention I'd also like to hopefully pin down (as secondary objectives) are the probabl number of worlds/systems in the Imperium (which varies between a million, or millions" of worlds, as well as try to pin down the breakdown (probable number of hive worlds, forge worlds, etc.) and the potentail construction capability of each.

Given the "less than precise" nature of the subject, the data for it is alot more scattered about and requires more extrapolation to figure things out, and more assumptions//theories. Given that, I'm hoping that the rest of the 40Kers out there will feel free to add their own interpretations, add relevant data, and so on and so forth in developing this. Or to suggest possible ways to work out the numbers.

First off, I'm going to start by reviving one of my older analysis from the "Grand 40K Quantification thread". This will be followed by a revision of what Lost Soal originally attempted to do in that same thread.

Next, I'll start trying to work out a breakdown of ships in the Navy (roughly how many battleships, how many cruisers, how many escorts, etc.) This second part will probably be (by its nature) less precise than the absolute numbers, but it will be reasonably accurate (or at least as nearly so as I can make it.) As a rule I'll probably include "sub-stellar/non-warp capable" craft here (Defense fleets and whatnot)

After that, I'll try to work out the potential classes and numbers for "other" factions of the Imperium: The Adeptus Astartes, the Inquisition, the Arbites, etc. The Space marines ought to be fairly precise and I can make some good guesses on the Arbites, but any other factions will probably be less precise than the Navy will.

If I can (and time and interest permitting) I may also try to append something on possible industrial/shipbuilding capacity, the "reserve" (mothball) fleets, and the state of repair/refurbishing of some ships and how that may impact fleet numbers.

Lastly, I will point out that the focus of this analysis will be primarily upon Imperium's fleet numbers, since that is the most information I have to work with. I'm fully willing to work on other forces too (I may try to indirectly) but I feel that resources on others (except perhaps the Tyranids and maybe the Tau) are going to be wanting. Maybe after I hash out the Imperium numbers I'll work on the others.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-08 03:31am

Part I - Scope and Scale of the Imperial Navy

Naturally, I'll begin with citing some sources:
Warhammer 40K Rulebook, 3rd edition, page 100 wrote: The psychic beam stretches across 70,000 light years of space, a focus for the millions of commercial craft and warships that navigate through the tumultuous waves of the warp.
"millions of commericla craft and warships" mentioned. Literally this might mean "2-10 million", less literal might mean anything between 2 million and 999 million. The breakdown is not specified, though, at least not here.


"Fabrick of hte Imperium" link to the source
Fabrick of the Imperium wrote: It is a given fact that through the might and valour of the Imperial Navy, the raging tides of foul aliens and vile heretics that infest the galaxy have been stayed from overrunning the millions of worlds that over the millennia have come under the Emperors beneficient rule. While these hulking, powerful warships are the most visible representation of Mankind's command of the stars, it is actually through the millions of humble merchant freighters, lumbering heavy transports and sleek fast clippers that make up the vast majority of Mankind's interstellar spacecraft by which its vast domain is held together.
Again, we see mention of "millions" of "merchant freighters, transports, and clippers" (but no warships), and that these ships make up the "vast majority" of the IoM's spacecraft. Though the ratio isn't specified.

Also of note is the "millions of worlds", which kind of contrasts with the "million worlds" usually mentioned. This isn't neccesarily inconsistent though. Some sources imply there could be MORE worlds, while others imply a "million" is an approximate figure. Given that its also mentioned that the Imperium is constantly colonizing or conquering new worlds, as well as losing others to war or other catastrophes, the actual figure probably does fluctuate some.

Additionally, the "millions" may simply be "minor" planets - those newly colonized, research stations, the feral or dead worlds, etc. Its likely the "million worlds" refer to the oldest, most powerful/important worlds.

From Space Fleet link to the source (note: I am aware the Space Fleet stuff is old, and may have been partly or mostly retconned, but I'm still using it in these contexts because, ,as far as I know, none of this has been directly contradicted)
Imperial Spaceships wrote: Interstellar craft may be privately owned but most operate on behalf of one of the Imperial organisations. Of these, the Imperial Fleet is the largest, numbering tens of thousands of warships and hundreds of thousands of cargo vessels of varying sizes. In addition to its spacecraft, the Fleet maintains military spaceports, space stations, mining and factory ships, various orbital research stations and countless unmanned orbiting spaceships that serve as early warning, exploration and research satellites.
According to this, the Imperial Fleet numbers "tens of thousands" of warships and 'hundreds of thousands" of merchant vessels. This seems drastically "small" for the scale of the Imperium, though it is higher than the "thousands" usually mentioned in various sources.) It may mean per "segmentum", but that's pure extraploation.

In any event, we already know there are "millions" of merchant ships, so the older figure is probably retconned. We can derive something useful from this: either by scaling up the naval ships (impliying hundreds of thousands rather than millions of ships in the Navy), or we can infer a ratio between merchant and warships (roughly 1/10th, but no less than 1/50th, and no more than half. 1/10 or thereabouts seems the most likely, since the other two represent "extreme" possibilities.)
The Merchant Fleets wrote: The combined merchant fleets comprise almost 90% of all interstellar spacecraft in the Imperium
This seems to indicate that 9 out of 10 ships in the total IoM fleet are merchant ships. The other 10% are other craft (military, privately owned/civilian, rogue trader, space marine, arbites, AM, etc.) The fast majority of that would seem to belong to the Navy directly, however. This is also borne out by the ratio implied above, of course.

Given said ratio, ,and the "millions" of Merchant vessels, and assuming 2 million vessels (low end), this means around ~200,000 warships (low end.). It could (and probably is) much higher. Fabrick of the Imperium implies that constant merchant trade between the planets of the Imperium is important to its continued existence, and the nature and speed of warp travel, the Imperium probably needs many times more than 2 million merchant ships.
BFG Merchantmen wrote: Every Imperial fleet is supported by hundreds of secondary vessels, mostly chartered or comandeered merchant vessels used to transport supplies between embattled systems. The most common of these ships are the Imperial transports, but across the imperium there are a vast array of different space fairing vesels, any of which can be pressed into service.
If "Imperial Fleet" means "battlefleet" (which it probably does) this probably means ech sector has "hundreds" of warships at least (or average). This can infer that the ratio between Merchant:Warships is 3:1 or as high as 20:1. 10:1 seems to be a good average (and consistent with the other data. I do admit it is somewhat arbitrary, but the difference won't affect the calcs beyond an order of magnitude at most, and probably quite less.)

The number of probable transports per sector will be an important figure later on.
BFG merchantmen wrote: Super heavy transports are used to support large fleet actions, such as planetary assaults. Each is capable of carrying tens of thousands of men and thousands of vehicles. They are also used by Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Legions for moving their huge war machines or enough munitions to supply an entire army.
Coupled with an estimate on the numbers of IG serving in the Imperium, and assuming that all transports are "super heavies" (which is probably conservative, not all of them are gonna be that big.) one could probably get a good lower limit estimate on transport numbers.
Epic 40K - 2nd: Armies of the Imperium wrote: Every world in the Imperium has its own army to defend it against raiders, pirates, and rebels. These local armies are maintained by the planet's own ruler and are known as the planetary defense forces. Even though these forces might number several million troops this is not sufficient to withstand a full scale enemy attack..
According to tactica Imperialis and the 2nd editioin Guard codex, 10% of a planet's PDF forces get drafted into the Guard. Given a million planets, and a minimum of 2 million troops per planet, this works out to around 2 trillion PDF troops, and 10% of that would be.. 200 billion guardsman. Assuming all transports were superheavies (generous) and that they carried 50,000 troops each (such a large transport was implied in 13th Legion and 15 Hours.), there would be at least 4 million military transports. If there are 20,000 troops per superheavy, its 10 million transports. 10% of that would be 400,000 to 1 million warships.

Of course, this is rather conservative. The 200 billion figure could be higher (more troops in a PDF - hive worlds are going to have MUCH higher numbers, of course.) and there are "millions" of planets by numerous sources. Moreover, a tithe (which is what the 10% figur represents) is an annual thing, for the most part, so you'll see "billions" of Guardsman inducted over any long timeframe (say a decade or two), which will also inrease the figure. And it doesn't factor in transportation of materials, supplies or resources (such as civilian commerce.) which can also increase the figure (In fact, you can probably count on that figure to more than double.)

*****

There is a second way to go about potentially estimating the fleet sizes of the Imperium. That by an estimate of the number of sectors in the Imperium itself. This was tried some time back by lost Soal, but his numbers tended to err on the.. generous side and represented more of an upper limit than anything else. While I aggree wholeheartedly with some of his underlying logic for why the Imperium might have a large fleet, a million (or more) Sectors in the galaxy is rather excessive (While we know there are "millions" of systems in the Imperium that are references, the "million" number gets mentioned often enough that the "Extras" beyond the common "million" are more minor - either newly colonized, or representative of the research stations or feudal worlds. Its pretty damn unlikely that you get only one "major" world per sector (or less!): what we know in the novels about sector or sub-sector makeups tend to support that.

Moreover, we know that the vast majority of Sectors and sub-sectors is made up of largerly uncharted, uninhabited, or wildnerness space, both within and without the Sectors/subsectors both. (such that the so called "wilderness" zones is considerably greater than that directly controlled by humanity.) Another factor reinforcing this is the speed of warp travel (generally, thousand to tens of thousands of c on average) and the known travel times in various novels (Eisenhorn and Ravenor, for example.) Those times would be more consistent over large distancecs (hundreds or thousands of light years between destinations) than over shorter (while warp travel can no doubt go slower, it probably does not go DRASTICALLY slower than that outside of some catastrophe or major event, just as its unlikely that vasty higher speeds, ie hundreds of thousands of times c, are unlikely to be "common.)

With that said, there ARE other ways to determine the numbers of Sectors. With that, the fleet sizes can be determined. And, as a double-check, we can work out merchant/transport fleet sizes with that same information, which should match to within an order of magnitude or so. But first, some important (additional) data that needs to be laid down.)
BFG core rules, page 114 wrote: Hundreds, perhaps thousands of transportt ships participated in the Gothic War.
This comment tends to reinfroce the "hundreds of transports per fleet" mentioned earlier. Although we know ships from other sectors later participated in the Gothic war, its likely that the bulk would have been from the Gothic Sector itself. Also note that if "thousands" were involved, it was probably in the low thousands (2 or 3 thousand.) and that that figure would have included the reinforcecments from other Sectors. (The Hundreds would probably represents "known" vessels.)
BFG core book, page 86 wrote: Each battlefleet normally consists of between 50 and 75 warships of varying size, although in some sectors this will be more or less, according to the importance of the sector and the number of enemies it must contend with. As well as these destroyers, frigates, cruisers and battleships, a battlefleet also has access to countless smaller vessels such as transports, shuttles, messenger craft and long-range patrol craft. In addition to interstellar vessels, a sector will also be protected by numerous ships incapable of warp travel, such as system patrol ships and defence monitors.

These are backed up by stationary defences – space stations, orbital defence platforms, groundbased defence lasers and missile silos and orbital mines.
Statement outlining the "average" composition of a battlefleet, although the exact number (As noted) can vary. Its known that "safer" sectors, for example, generally have fewer ships, whereas major bases (such as Cadia) can have hundreds of ships in its battlefleet easily. These numbers represent the warp-capable ships of destroyer class and above. It evidently does not include small craft (like shuttles) military transports (cargo or troop), or "patrol craft" (which I take to include scouting/recon, anti-piracy and other security vessels.) Sub-stellar warships (such as monitors) are not included.

Generally, the heaviest/most powerful and most mobile ships are in the Navy, and are also the fewest in number. The Imperium clearly has a vast portion of its total warship strength tied up in "sub-stellar" or short-ranged fleets as well as smaller "patrol" ships. If we include space fleet sources (and hints from other books like First and Only and Soul Drinkers, Eye of Terror, and Harlequin) then it probably also doesn't include sub-light "parasite" warships, either.

Given the number of systems in the Imperium and the probability that most if not all have at least some manner of sublight defence ship defenses, we're probably talking tens of millions more sublight ships in addition to what the Navy proper possesses. Anyhow, with the number of ships (warships and transports) established fairly well, we move on to estimating the number of sectors.
BFG core rules, page 45 wrote: Less than 1% of systems have planets orbiting a solitary star in the manner of ancient Terra. Even so, there are millions of star systems containing billions of worlds scattered across the galaxy. Most planets are either desolate, empty, and airless, or surrounded by an atmoshpere too noxious to s upport life. In the Gothic Sector there are over two hundred inhabited worlds and tens of thousands of other planets.
The Gothic Sector has "two hundred inhabitable worlds" and "tens of thousands" of other planets. Its a safe bet (again, to within an order of magnitude: probably far less than that in fact.) that that many systems are inhabited by humans. We know from certain other novels that some sectors ARE somewhat smaller (50 systems, ,such as the Typhon Sector from 13th Legion, or the hundred or so planets in the Sabbat Sector from the SWC book.) so it fits within our range. In any case, this makes the calc conservative by several times, at worst.
BFG core rules, page 86 wrote: An average sector, perhaps in one of the western spiral arms where humanity is most dense, can contain tens of thousands of stars and covers an area of 8,000,000 cubic light years. Within this vast wilderness, only a small fraction of systewms will have planets and a small proportion of these will be inhabited, or indeed inhabitable. However, the ships of a battlefleet must constantly scour this area for enemies; protecting merchant shipping from pirates and alien attacks, transporrting and escorting Imperial Guard armies, giving orbital support for planetary armies, not to mention providing exploration fleets and routine patrols.
Important to note that an "average sector" will contain tens of thousands of stars. Conservatively, we can assume this matches with the "Gothic Sector" as mentioned above (even though the previous quote said "tens of thousands of planets" and this says "tens of thousands of Stars".) Again, we're going for an "order of magnitude" estimate so this can be considered conservative.

Anyhow, assuming the bare minimum "million" planets in the Imperium (ignoring references to "millions' of planets in other sources, again which can increase the figure by several times arguably.) and the 200 "inhabited' planet per sector average based on the Gothic sector, we come to about 5,000 Sectors, minimum. Given that, it is safe to say that there are at LEAST 250,000-375,000 warp capable combat ships in the navy. As we already know there are at least "hundreds" of military transports per sector, we can infer that the transport minimums do reach into the millions, so this too seems to be within the established ranges (again, within an order of magnitude or so.)

Of course, the figure can be much higher, and probably is at least 2 or even 3 times greater (both for transports and warships.) - indeed a million or more vessels seems fairly reasonable (Although not much more than that, ,arguably. As NecronLord has mentioned in the past, ,the Imperial Navy is frequently described as "thinly stretched", and too many vessels would not match this figure. Millions could work, however, if the majority of that is made up of small escorts rather than cruisers or battleships.) Given that a.) the Imperium's FTL speed can and sometimes does require long periods of time to cover distances and its inherent inconsistencies and b.) the Imperial Navy spends a good deal of its time and effort patrolling the wilderness regions of space as well as its own occupied territories, nevermind all the Crusades and permanant fleets around Terra or the Eye of Terror, large numbers numbers of ships of at least escort scale can be reconciled with the "thinly stretched" idea. Particularily since its largely cruisers and battleships that are the "substantial" assets in the Navy.

Thus, it can be safely said that the Imperial Navy's total warp-capable naval strength probably measures many hundreds of thousands, to a few million warships, total.

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Post by Shortie » 2007-05-08 02:29pm

Nice.

A couple of general comments:
I take the million(s of) worlds thing to mean about a million useful systems. Anywhere with no useful quantity of exports (including soldiers or research) wouldn't be included any more than Luna is.

The Guards transport fleet calculation does assume the ships are assigned permanently to regiments. I know there was old fluff supporting that, but I can't imagine the transports just sit around when regiments are committed to a decades-long campaign.


A few other points:
From the BFG rulebook:
"The Lunar class forms the mainstay of Battlefleet Obscuras with over 600 ships serving through the Segmentum"
Mainstay surely must be at least 6%, giving just 10,000 warships for the Segmentum, a fifth of the Imperium

Rough calc:
The average marine chapter has at a couple of Battlebarges, half-a-dozen Strike cruisers and a bunch of escorts. That's a minimum of 20,000 warships for the Astartes, who really have to be a minor force next to the Navy, after the whole Heresy thing.

And yes, I know those two estimates disagree. That's 40K for you.


A million ships means an average of 1 per significant system. Obviously you don't deploy them like that however, capital ships mass together at important systems or central locations, escorts either cover them or convoys, and cruisers are out there looking for trouble. That said, if they are that common then a major commitment like Cadia should mean what, five hundred ships? (say 50-odd capital, 150-odd cruisers, and 300-odd escorts) How many were there on that listing for the EoT campaign?
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Post by Stormbringer » 2007-05-08 02:45pm

The average marine chapter has at a couple of Battlebarges, half-a-dozen Strike cruisers and a bunch of escorts. That's a minimum of 20,000 warships for the Astartes, who really have to be a minor force next to the Navy, after the whole Heresy thing.
Actually, the numbers vary a great deal with the Marine Chapters involved. There is a lot that depends on the age of the Chapter as well as it's chosen doctrine.

In general, only the more established Chapters are likely to have Battle Barges, though some may have multiple, because they're pretty much tip-top capital ships. The production of them is low, in part because of the technology incorporated, which means that most Chapters are lucky to have one. Only the oldest or most prosperous are likely to have multiple vessels. Most Chapters, those that have extensive fleets, are mostly composed of Strike Cruisers (which are far more common) and escorts. T
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Post by Lost Soal » 2007-05-08 03:24pm

Stormbringer wrote:
The average marine chapter has at a couple of Battlebarges, half-a-dozen Strike cruisers and a bunch of escorts. That's a minimum of 20,000 warships for the Astartes, who really have to be a minor force next to the Navy, after the whole Heresy thing.
Actually, the numbers vary a great deal with the Marine Chapters involved. There is a lot that depends on the age of the Chapter as well as it's chosen doctrine.

In general, only the more established Chapters are likely to have Battle Barges, though some may have multiple, because they're pretty much tip-top capital ships. The production of them is low, in part because of the technology incorporated, which means that most Chapters are lucky to have one. Only the oldest or most prosperous are likely to have multiple vessels. Most Chapters, those that have extensive fleets, are mostly composed of Strike Cruisers (which are far more common) and escorts. T
While the number of Battlebarges and strike cruisers will vary from chapter to chapter, it is pretty safe to say that all chapters are capable of transporting their entire chapter if neccessary.
A single battlebarge is capable of transporting an entire chapter plus associated equipment (the Flesh Tearers were given just a battlebarge when they were formed), while strike cruisers will generally carry one company and I would guess two at the most. If battlebarges are that rare then we could possably work out a probable ratio of battlebarges to strike cruisers to get the number of astartes ships.

Of the main chapters we know the following, their is at least one fleet based chapter, Black Templars, and realistically more on a smaller scale, The Space Wolves have 15 capital ships, The Dark Angels have at least one battlebarge and the Blood Angels HAD at least two battlebarges till they destroyed one.
For the Ultramarines wikipedia lists the following information:
* 5 Battle Barges: Aeternus, Emperor Incarnatus, Adsidus, Seditio Opprimere, Lord Laomedon
* 10 Strike Cruisers: Vae Victus, Iter Splendere, Fidelis, Internecio, Accipiter
* 14 Rapid Strike Cruisers
* 34 Thunderhawks
Now while wiki is usually treated with sceptisism, and I'm not sure where they got the info from, I've found they usually rip this kind of 40K info direct from GW published sources, quite often word for word.
If anyone knows better or more, about anything I've just typed, please enlighten us.
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Post by Teleros » 2007-05-08 03:30pm

Reading the BFG rules online, they can deploy up to 3 companies simultaneously, but "most chapters control two or three battle barges". A strike cruiser meanwhile has space inside for just a single company.

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Post by Lonestar » 2007-05-09 06:38am

Lost Soal wrote:
While the number of Battlebarges and strike cruisers will vary from chapter to chapter, it is pretty safe to say that all chapters are capable of transporting their entire chapter if neccessary.
A single battlebarge is capable of transporting an entire chapter plus associated equipment (the Flesh Tearers were given just a battlebarge when they were formed), while strike cruisers will generally carry one company and I would guess two at the most. If battlebarges are that rare then we could possably work out a probable ratio of battlebarges to strike cruisers to get the number of astartes ships.

Of the main chapters we know the following, their is at least one fleet based chapter, Black Templars, and realistically more on a smaller scale, The Space Wolves have 15 capital ships, The Dark Angels have at least one battlebarge and the Blood Angels HAD at least two battlebarges till they destroyed one.
For the Ultramarines wikipedia lists the following information:
* 5 Battle Barges: Aeternus, Emperor Incarnatus, Adsidus, Seditio Opprimere, Lord Laomedon
* 10 Strike Cruisers: Vae Victus, Iter Splendere, Fidelis, Internecio, Accipiter
* 14 Rapid Strike Cruisers
* 34 Thunderhawks
Now while wiki is usually treated with sceptisism, and I'm not sure where they got the info from, I've found they usually rip this kind of 40K info direct from GW published sources, quite often word for word.
If anyone knows better or more, about anything I've just typed, please enlighten us.
I think the defination of Battlebarge may vary from chapter to chapter...isn't it stated in the Space Wolf omnibus that some of the SW's battlebarges are in fact captured enemy battleships?
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Post by white_rabbit » 2007-05-09 07:05am

Lonestar wrote:
Lost Soal wrote:
While the number of Battlebarges and strike cruisers will vary from chapter to chapter, it is pretty safe to say that all chapters are capable of transporting their entire chapter if neccessary.
A single battlebarge is capable of transporting an entire chapter plus associated equipment (the Flesh Tearers were given just a battlebarge when they were formed), while strike cruisers will generally carry one company and I would guess two at the most. If battlebarges are that rare then we could possably work out a probable ratio of battlebarges to strike cruisers to get the number of astartes ships.

Of the main chapters we know the following, their is at least one fleet based chapter, Black Templars, and realistically more on a smaller scale, The Space Wolves have 15 capital ships, The Dark Angels have at least one battlebarge and the Blood Angels HAD at least two battlebarges till they destroyed one.
For the Ultramarines wikipedia lists the following information:
* 5 Battle Barges: Aeternus, Emperor Incarnatus, Adsidus, Seditio Opprimere, Lord Laomedon
* 10 Strike Cruisers: Vae Victus, Iter Splendere, Fidelis, Internecio, Accipiter
* 14 Rapid Strike Cruisers
* 34 Thunderhawks
Now while wiki is usually treated with sceptisism, and I'm not sure where they got the info from, I've found they usually rip this kind of 40K info direct from GW published sources, quite often word for word.
If anyone knows better or more, about anything I've just typed, please enlighten us.
I think the defination of Battlebarge may vary from chapter to chapter...isn't it stated in the Space Wolf omnibus that some of the SW's battlebarges are in fact captured enemy battleships?
BBs are essentially any big marine ship designed to carry large quantities of marine equipment and troops into combat, and provide fire support and fleet combat.

There are also obviously the astartes only designs, with the large Marine BB model being described as a "Maccrage" pattern Battle Barge.
Seditio Opprimere
Was destroyed.

The Soul Drinkers have probably the largest fleet described for a Marine chapter, the size of a sector fleet, although I imagine the BT's probably have more ships, and other chapters will make up for their relatively smaller fleets with a giant Fortress Monastery.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-05-09 07:11am

Space Marine battlebarges and strike cruisers are more subject to variation than most other forms of capital ship. The current "common" configurations are post Heresy designs as they tended to use conventional battleships earlier. And then there's that lance boat monstrosity that the Ultramarines have, which is a "standard" battlebarge modified to kill Tyranid ships.
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Post by Falkenhayn » 2007-05-09 02:09pm

white_rabbit wrote:
Seditio Opprimere
Was destroyed.
According to the BFG WD article, Seiditio Opprimere was hulked by the 'nids and all of its battery decks were torn out and replaced with lances. Then it was reccomissioned.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-10 01:27am

Shortie wrote: A couple of general comments:
I take the million(s of) worlds thing to mean about a million useful systems. Anywhere with no useful quantity of exports (including soldiers or research) wouldn't be included any more than Luna is.
I'll probably handle the "millions of worlds" bit in grgeater

The Guards transport fleet calculation does assume the ships are assigned permanently to regiments. I know there was old fluff supporting that, but I can't imagine the transports just sit around when regiments are committed to a decades-long campaign.

There's lots of little separate references to this and I have to dig them all up (which will be a huge pain in the ass.) Especialyl when i start going into breakdowns of systems and such (Hive, Forge, ,etc.)

The other obvious thing (and one I can't raelly think of a way to measure) is that systems are gained or lost over time in the Imperium, some old, some new. And it takes time for the "new" ones to sometimes become viable. I'd guess offhand they have more "newly" conquered terirtories though
A few other points:
From the BFG rulebook:
"The Lunar class forms the mainstay of Battlefleet Obscuras with over 600 ships serving through the Segmentum"
Mainstay surely must be at least 6%, giving just 10,000 warships for the Segmentum, a fifth of the Imperium
Where do you get 6% from, out of curiosity?
Rough calc:
The average marine chapter has at a couple of Battlebarges, half-a-dozen Strike cruisers and a bunch of escorts. That's a minimum of 20,000 warships for the Astartes, who really have to be a minor force next to the Navy, after the whole Heresy thing.

And yes, I know those two estimates disagree. That's 40K for you.
Not neccesarily. Its worth noting though that some sources List Space Marines as having 2-3 batlte barges as you say (most chapters anyhow), and while no definite figures on Strike Cruisers are given, we know hte Ultramarines keep at least 10 Strike cruisers permanant, but will build others as situations demands.

I'd imagine strike vessels/escorts exist on at least a 2:1 basis.

The REAL limiting factor though is the numbers of Space Marines to exist or serve as officers (or the techmarines.) And that alone is going to limit figures.
A million ships means an average of 1 per significant system. Obviously you don't deploy them like that however, capital ships mass together at important systems or central locations, escorts either cover them or convoys, and cruisers are out there looking for trouble. That said, if they are that common then a major commitment like Cadia should mean what, five hundred ships? (say 50-odd capital, 150-odd cruisers, and 300-odd escorts) How many were there on that listing for the EoT campaign?[/quote

I'll cover some of the known "battlefleet" listings I've uncovered but IIRC I estimated some 100+ odd ships for battlefleet Cadia . Cadia, however, is what they call a "bastion system" and due to its proximity to the EoT its considered more valuable, obviously.

The thing about the "one per system" bit is that the fleet clacs include escorts, including the smallest destroyers. Those almost never act alone, but in squadrons (only the larger frigates might act alone.) Really, a destroyer on its own is not much use fending off anything except maybe small pirates: its the cruisers and battleships that are "signfiicant" presences (I'll cover this a bit later too I hope.. but even cruisers rarely act "alone" in major ways.) So in truth its probably that they don't have enough 'squadrons" of escrots or single cruisers/battleships to adequately defend the Imperium (or even a large fraction of it, I suppose.) There's alot of leeway there though (I mean a squadron hardly counts as *adequate* defense under most circumstances either.)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-10 01:30am

Imperial Overlord wrote:Space Marine battlebarges and strike cruisers are more subject to variation than most other forms of capital ship. The current "common" configurations are post Heresy designs as they tended to use conventional battleships earlier. And then there's that lance boat monstrosity that the Ultramarines have, which is a "standard" battlebarge modified to kill Tyranid ships.
Amusingly enough the Vae Victus from the Ultramarines novels is a prime example. It has a single bombardment cannon (or perhaps a single battery - Bombardmen cannon are sometimes treated as plural) that is fixed mounted like a nova cannon, not a turret (or maybe it IS a nova cannon. The Space Wolves mount nova acnnon on some of their ships too.) But the VAe Victus also has torpedo tubes (which probably explains why they lack extra bombardment cannon.) The Mortifactors had a strike cruiser like that too in Warriors of Ultramar.

Whereas the strike cruisers the Arbites used in Execution hour did have turrreted railguns, in multiple mountings.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-10 01:35am

As an added note: Anyone got any numbers for Eldar Craftworld? I have a possible way of estimating their numbers in conjunction with some other stuff, but the number of craft world known (at least) would hlep. I just have one number from Shadow point and I think thats an under-estimate.

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Post by NecronLord » 2007-05-10 11:35am

I seem to recall 'hundreds' but I can't tell you where I got that number. Also, that would include the really tiny ones.
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Post by Shortie » 2007-05-10 03:00pm

Connor MacLeod wrote: I'll probably handle the "millions of worlds" bit in grgeater
There's lots of little separate references to this and I have to dig them all up (which will be a huge pain in the ass.) Especialyl when i start going into breakdowns of systems and such (Hive, Forge, ,etc.)
I realise using logic for 40K fluff is dodgy, but it really doesn't make that much sense as a universal rule. Not least because it links the Guard with the Fleet a bit much. That said, I'm sure there are cases where it happens, for the Guard equivalent of rapid reaction forces, or in an ongoing Crusade.
The other obvious thing (and one I can't raelly think of a way to measure) is that systems are gained or lost over time in the Imperium, some old, some new. And it takes time for the "new" ones to sometimes become viable. I'd guess offhand they have more "newly" conquered terirtories though
Yeah, I'm not a fan of the doom and gloom, humanity's always losing thing. There are many worlds and even sectors where war is a far-off subject of history and news-bulletins.
Where do you get 6% from, out of curiosity?
I totally made it up to get a nice round number. I'd actually think it gives a high-end figure.
Not neccesarily. Its worth noting though that some sources List Space Marines as having 2-3 batlte barges as you say (most chapters anyhow), and while no definite figures on Strike Cruisers are given, we know hte Ultramarines keep at least 10 Strike cruisers permanant, but will build others as situations demands.

I'd imagine strike vessels/escorts exist on at least a 2:1 basis.

The REAL limiting factor though is the numbers of Space Marines to exist or serve as officers (or the techmarines.) And that alone is going to limit figures.
Yeah, it was a high-end figure.

I'll cover some of the known "battlefleet" listings I've uncovered but IIRC I estimated some 100+ odd ships for battlefleet Cadia . Cadia, however, is what they call a "bastion system" and due to its proximity to the EoT its considered more valuable, obviously.

The thing about the "one per system" bit is that the fleet clacs include escorts, including the smallest destroyers. Those almost never act alone, but in squadrons (only the larger frigates might act alone.) Really, a destroyer on its own is not much use fending off anything except maybe small pirates: its the cruisers and battleships that are "signfiicant" presences (I'll cover this a bit later too I hope.. but even cruisers rarely act "alone" in major ways.) So in truth its probably that they don't have enough 'squadrons" of escrots or single cruisers/battleships to adequately defend the Imperium (or even a large fraction of it, I suppose.) There's alot of leeway there though (I mean a squadron hardly counts as *adequate* defense under most circumstances either.)
Depends on the attack. Presumably many pirates have armed merchantmen rather than real warships, and most Xeno & Ork attacks aren't going to have cruiser-weight vessels, let alone capital ships. But yeah, you don't distribute then evenly. OTOH, aren't system defence monitors around escort-level? And they're not that uncommon either, most civilised worlds should have a squadron hanging around.
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Post by andrewgpaul » 2007-05-10 03:14pm

Lonestar wrote:
Lost Soal wrote: I think the defination of Battlebarge may vary from chapter to chapter...isn't it stated in the Space Wolf omnibus that some of the SW's battlebarges are in fact captured enemy battleships?
I believe one of the Space Wolves' battle barges is actually a refitted Emperor-class battleship. I couldn't tell you where that titbit if info comes from, though.

I did think the wiki info Lost Soal quotes is from the 3rd edition Codex: Space Marines. However, it lists the Ultramarines fleet as 3 battle barges (Octavius, Caesar, Severian), 8 strike cruisers, 12 rapid strike vessels and 32 Thunderhawks.

The Wikipedia article lists this article as its source, but as far as I can see, it only support the 5 barges and 10 cruisers; Not sure where the two additional rapid strike vessels and Thunderhawks come from.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-05-10 03:23pm

The rapid strike vessels are escorts, not strike cruisers. Separate category. The article gives the Ultramarines strength after they've taken losses fighting the Tyranids and has stats for the nightmarish lance boat Seditio Opprimere, which was wrecked by the 'Nids and rebuilt as a 'Nid (and just about anything else) killer.
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Post by andrewgpaul » 2007-05-10 03:27pm

Imperial Overlord wrote:The rapid strike vessels are escorts, not strike cruisers.
Yes, I know this. I have a little bag of them in a box somewhere :) What I was saying is the Wiki article takes the PDF I linked to as the basis the the 5 barges, 10 cruisers, 14 escorts and 34 T-hawks numbers. However, the PDF itself, as far as I can see, only mentions the barges and cruisers, so I'm confused as to where the Wiki authoer got the other numbers.
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2007-05-10 03:39pm

What? A wikipedia article is poorly sourced? Never. :D

I don't know where they pulled that number from (possibly their ass). The number of Thunderhawks is low for that many battlebarges (usually 9 per) and strike cruisers (usually 3).
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Post by andrewgpaul » 2007-05-10 05:02pm

In fairness, the official source (i.e. the Codex) lists 32. That's 3 per company (enough to land all the infantry), plus two. It doesn't list any transporters or heavy dropships (which is reasonable, since Forgeworld and Specialist Games hadn't invented them at that point).
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Post by Lost Soal » 2007-05-10 06:11pm

andrewgpaul wrote:
Lonestar wrote:
Lost Soal wrote: I think the defination of Battlebarge may vary from chapter to chapter...isn't it stated in the Space Wolf omnibus that some of the SW's battlebarges are in fact captured enemy battleships?
I believe one of the Space Wolves' battle barges is actually a refitted Emperor-class battleship. I couldn't tell you where that titbit if info comes from, though.
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Post by Setzer » 2007-05-10 08:15pm

I'm pretty sure the Soul Drinkers scuttled their space fleet when they went into hiding. There was a scene of it in The Bleeding Chalice, IIRC.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-16 04:23pm

Shortie wrote: I realise using logic for 40K fluff is dodgy, but it really doesn't make that much sense as a universal rule. Not least because it links the Guard with the Fleet a bit much. That said, I'm sure there are cases where it happens, for the Guard equivalent of rapid reaction forces, or in an ongoing Crusade.
There are some refrences to the Guard having ships of their own, although they are probably in limited quantities and only lightly armed transports. It would be akin to the Naval Security/Armsmen we know the Navy has and can deploy in war zones (equivalent of storm-troopers or Grenadiers really.) These may be the "rapid reaction forces" you suggest, but in principle they probably won't be much threat: without a Navy Escort they'd be prey to enemy attack, and even a few Cobras could probably torpedo most transports without effort.

Even if the Guard did not have any warships, it still works as an order of magnitude estimate. While the Guard DOES garrison some worlds (important ones mainly), defending planets is largely the responsibility of PDF. The Guard are meant to be shipped across the galaxy to fight wars on other planets. This implies, in turn, that the Navy should be capable of airlifting a substantial portion of its numbers at any given time (especailly in the event of, say, a Black Crusade or Tyranid Hive Fleet.) These ships could be both merchant AND military (and both could serve in cargo transport under other cases.) but the point remains the same.

I should further note, that I am under-estimating the size of the Guard by at least an order of magnitude, in all probabilities. Hive worlds (of which there are tens of thousands easily) can easily contribute tens or hundreds of millions of troops in a single raising outside what they may contribute from their PDFs (which are bound to be larger than the PDFs of Agri or civilized worlds). Hell, how many troops od you think the Imperium could get (assuming bilions of people average on say half a million worlds) if they drafted just .1% of it into the Guard? Trillions EASILY. Assuming more than a million worlds only emphasizes how dramatically I under-estimated the Guard

Yeah, I'm not a fan of the doom and gloom, humanity's always losing thing. There are many worlds and even sectors where war is a far-off subject of history and news-bulletins.
You commonly hear about hundreds or "thousands" of wars being fought on many fronts. Outside of a Tyranid Hive fleet or a Black Crusade (or maybe an Ork WAAAGH) that only implies thata fraction of the Imperium is at war at any given time (there are thousands if not tens o thousands of sectors) Which makes sense, because it would be pretty hard for even the Imperium to maintain any sort of trade or industry on a galactic scale (particularily the important Hive and Forge worlds) if the ENTIRE were constantly at war.

How I've always interpreted it is that while only part of the Imperium is ever actually at war at any given time, the government/military of the Imperium (if not its citizens) expect attack from any given quarter at any time (with some merit, given things like Chaos cults and Genestealers). Its paranoia and propoganda really, but the potential for it does not make it a consistent reality.

Depends on the attack. Presumably many pirates have armed merchantmen rather than real warships, and most Xeno & Ork attacks aren't going to have cruiser-weight vessels, let alone capital ships. But yeah, you don't distribute then evenly. OTOH, aren't system defence monitors around escort-level? And they're not that uncommon either, most civilised worlds should have a squadron hanging around.
IIRC pirates can have some escorts, although they may be refitted due to lack of ordnance or materials (Lances are pretty maintenance intensive IIRC - one reason Rogue Traders don't carry Imperium-made weapons on long journeys IIRC.)

And yes, System defense ships and monitors ARE technically escorts by game stats, but system ships are better armed than destroyers (nearly frigates in terms of firepower) while monitors carry significantly more firepower than frigates (nearly light cruiser level). Coupled with fixed defenses most planets of civilized level or higher can probably fend off attack from a single squadron (or two) of escrots (destroyers at least) easily.

I should also notice that I tend to apply the "game stats" regarding system ships very loosely. In principle, there is very little stopping a system defense ship from packing alot more firepower than its size might indicate, depending on how its constructed. System defense ships probably sacrifice endurance and FTL capability, but this can free up ALOT of internal volume. Reduced crew requirements, fuel needs, and the need for bulky engines (which can contribute a significant portion of a ship's size) allow for more space to be devoted to weapons and defenses. Additionally, having a base of operations nearby means that they can generally resupply quickly. It also means ship's don't have to carry fighters (Indeed most system defense ships can be considered a scaled up version of a fighter.)

I'd imagine a system defense ship focuses heavily on projectile weapons (missiles and shells and torpedoes) over beam weapons, because that offers greater "throw weight" in a smaller package (at the risk of shorter endurancec.) though some ships do use energgy weapons (the "internal volume" savings can also allow for bigger reactors as well.)

Likewise, there's probably very little stopping any sub stellar ship from being comparable in size to a small cruiser or large frigate (or possibly the size of a Lunar in some cases.) However, one of the benefits of using smaller hulls is ease of construction, thus meaniung that system defenses can be replaced more quickly (and easily.) But it wouldn't be surprising if some bigger or more industrious planets build multi-km "system defense" ships (which would pack even more offensive/defensive capability into a specialized form ) Alternately, some planets probably can make their battle/space stations somewhat mobile (which would amount to the same thing.)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-05-16 04:24pm

I've basically established the approximate scale of transport strength (millions) and the naval strength (hundreds of thousands, or millions depending on the size of the transport fleet). In temrs of absolute numbers that is useful, but it doesn't tell us much specific regarding classifications. Unfortunately, precise numbers are unlikely, but we CAN break them down into rough groups (battleships, cruisers, escorts, etc.)

For battleships and cruisers, there are two (separate) bits of distinct information. Both rely on a little inference, but not as much as the other method I devised for breaking down fleet numbers.

The first is not directly involving naval vessels, but rather Space Marine battle barges:
To Cleanse the Stars: Space Marine fleets wrote: Most Space Marine Chapters control two or three battle barges.
Now, this isn't a *precise* number, but the approximate number of Space Marine Chapters is known, and other sourcecs (to be discussed later) tend to threat the "two to three" figure as a minimum (others, like the Ultramarines, have more.) Given that, we can infer a minimum of 2,000-3,000 Battle Barges.

How does this pertain to the Navy, though? Well for all intents and purposes a Battle Barge is a battleship (just as a Strike cruiser is a cruiser.) And the Navy is substantially larger than the Space Marine's fleet (as well be mentioned in the Space Marine fleet section.) This means, of course, that the Navy should have at Least as many battleships as the Space Marines collectively have battle barges. In reality, though, the figure probably is (and will be shown to be later) many times higher


The second quote pertains to cruisers, and comes from the Battlefleet Gothic novel Shadow Point:
Shadow point, page 165-166 wrote: Massive and overwhelming, brutal and threatening, it seemed solid and formidably permanent in contrast to the slender, delicate, wraithbone-formed vessels of the eldar. Kariadryl could only imagine how many teeming thousands of humans there were aboard the massive cruiser, but he was all too painfully aware of the far lesser number of eldar - barely more than a thousand - who made up the crew of the Vual'en Sho..

And the humans had - how many, he wondered- thousands or tens of thousands of such vessels, spread all through the galaxy? In stark contrast, An-Iolsus could only muster a handful of ships, most of which were held in reserve for the defence of the crafworld itself. In his darkest thoughts, Kariadryl strongly doubed that the entire eldar diaspora, scattered as it was across dozens of craftworlds all through the galaxy, could gather its collected forces together in greater numbers than even the size of the single battlefleet grorup which the humans used to control this sector of their far-flung empire.
Now, I know an Eldar farseer (someone who seems to be rather isolated from practical matters such as the scale of your opponent's fleets.) is probably not the most RELIABLE person, but from an "in-universe" perspective, its quite reasonable to expect him to make an educated guess about fleet sizes. If anything it will just make the numbers conservative (which they are.) Tens of thousands of cruisers is a likely number (thousands is too small: that's roughly how many Space Marine battle barges there are, as the prior quote indicates.) This can mean anything from 20,000-100,000 of course, but that fits within the order of magnitude estimates to follow. It also does not break down into specific types (ie light vs heavy cruiser, or other types) but its probable that the majority of those are light cruisers. I suspect that it does NOT include battlecruisers/Grand cruisers, however. Such vessels are usually either grrouped in with battleships, or are considered a separate class of vessel.

We know from the Space Marine sources that there are probably around at least 6-10 thousand Strike cruisers (Again "to Cleanse the Stars" primarily.) Just as with battle barges, we can infer that the Navy possess many more times the number of Space Marine Strike cruisers (which coincides with the "tens of thousands" number.)


From these two quotes, we can establish a minimum of "tens of thousands" of cruisers, and "thousands" of battleships. If the variation holds, this means there are probably "hundreds of thousands" of escorts, minimum.


*****

The above is all well and good for low end estimates, but that's not the onyl way to work out the breakdown. What follows is more conjectural, but we can extrapolate from the information presented. It probably does not represent a "statistical sample" as such, but the consistency is reasonable enough to fit our purposes in a broad sense.

A number of 40K fluff sources (as outlined below) carry breakdowns of specific fleets. They are as follows (numbers in parenthesis represent the "per squadron" numbers as given in BFG page 105):
Battlefleet Armageddon (from Codex: Armageddon)

4 battleships

6 "First line cruiser" squadrons (Battlecruisers?) [12-24]

9 "second line" cruiser squadrons [18-36]

12 light cruiser squadrons [24-48]

36 Escort squadrons [72-216)


14 Space Marine battle barges

103 Space Marine Strike cruisers
- Battlefleet Cadia (From Eye of Terror codex)

12 Batlteships

12 cruiser squadrons [24-48]

21 Escort squadrons [42-126]
- Battlefleet Corona - (from EoT Codex)

7 Battleships

13 cruiser squadrons [26-52]

17 escort squadrons [34-102]

-Battlefleet Scarus - (from EoT codex)

5 battleships

9 cruiser squadrons [18-36]

13 escort squadrons [26-78]
- Battlefleet Corriba - (BFG mag 1: Planet Killer)

2 Battleships

1 Battlecruiser

17 cruisers

4 escort squadrons [8-24 - given the number below, it could be as many as 30]

"A little more than fifty warships have the duty to patrol and guard the Corribra Sector. This is no small task for so few ships. Fleet Command tends to be very slow in replacing destroyed or ancient ships so the shipyards within the sector, particularily those at Thesselonia, have grown adept at recovering and repairing the most crippled of ships and making them battle worthy again in just a few years.
These represent fully enumerated battle fleets. Little extrapolation is required to work out how they break down. In general, the variations break down as follow:

for every Battleship there are betwen 4 and 8 cruisers, and 10-30 escorts (higher in some cases, as Armageddon seems cruiser/escort heavy.)

For every cruiser there are roughly 2 to 6 escorts (Actually 2 to 5, ,but I'm guessing a little here.)

From this, and the known figures on sectors from before, we can work out the following: assuming 5,000 sectors and 2-4 battleships a sector, we can conclude that there are about 10,000-20,000 battleships, 40,000 - 160,000 cruisers (varying classes), and 100,000 to 600,000 escorts (or between 150,000 and 780,000 ships total.)

*****

A different way to look at it is that each sector averages:
2-4 battleships (at least)

15-20 cruisers (at least)

~30-50 escorts
Those are minimums, broken down to keep "within' the 50-75 "ships per battlefleet" figure as above. Battleships are not included, but most battleship numbers tend to be roughly equal to the number of battleships. Assuming 5,000 sectors in the Imperium, this works out to 10,000-20,000 battleships, 75,000-100,000 cruisers, and 150,000-250,000 escorts. (a total of 235,000 - 370,000 ships) Note that I suspect the escorts entry is a VAST under-estimate - I think one could reasonably expect 2 or 3 times that number. I base this primarily on the fact that the vast majority of escorts, as a rule, tend to act in squadrons rather than individual ships (especially destroyers and small frigates.) Given that you can usually expect one or two squadrons to work with a cruiser or battleship or cruiser/battleship squadron, it makes sense they would be VASTLY more numerous than their larger cousins. Likewise, escort squadrons probably make up the vast bulk of patrols due to their relative cheapness and numbers (with cruisers doing more long range and "important" patrol work.)

Note that of the two methods above, I tend to favor the second as being more precise but more conservative (because it emphasizes "minimums" more. Most of the battlefleets I used, I should note, tend to be "larger than normal" examples.) A more "generous" explanation is based on an "Average" of the four battlefleets described above:
8 Battleships

~15 cruiser squadrons [30-60 cruisers]

~22 escort squadrons [44-132 escorts]
Its not exactly an upper limit, but its probably close to it. Assuming 5,000 sectors, one will get 40,000 battleships, 150,000-300,000 cruisers, and 220,000-660,000 escorts. (a total of 410,000-1,000,000 ships But again, this is more of an upper limit than a precise figure - though the escorts are still probably something of an under-estimate.


There are two more battlefleets to go over. These are, however, less precisely defined, and thus more useful as supplementary data.
Battlefleet Gothic:

4 battleships

4 battlecruiser

24 cruisers (plus however many from the BFG novels, probably higher)

20-40 escort squadrons(?)
Of the two, this is more precisely defined. This is 4 Battleships, 4 battlecruisers, at least 24 cruisers, and between 40-240 escorts (roughly).

From the following quote;

Shadow point, page 27 wrote: Not even the lowliest rating or indentured slave-worker aboard any of the hundreds of Imperial Navy warships under his command would be in any doubt abou tthe figure's identity, even without the magnificent diamond-inlaid and gold-woven rank sash he wore across his tunic breast
We know the navy has "hundreds" of warships in battlefleet Gothic. The numbers as outlined above DO mesh with the figure, so we can take it as reasonably accurate (though probably consevative where escorts are concerned.). The distribution of BFG, thus, matches with the approximate breakdowns in numbers as outlined above.


The last battlefleet is Battlefleet Bakka.
Battlefleet Bakka: 200 ships (but again a)

- 5 battleships

- 6 cruisers (at least

- at least 3 destroyer squadrons.
BFG - Defense of MaCragge page 7 wrote: The timely arrival of the Tempestus fleet from Bakka finally sealed the Tyranid's fate by catching them in a vice between the two fleets.

...

The tempestus fleet of over two hundred warships including the huge Emperor class battleship
Dominus Astra was almost completely wiped out in a titanic battle around Circe.
Page BFG 2002 annual, page 47 wrote:
Then, just when all appeared to be lost, the first squadrons of ships from Battle Fleet Bakka began to arrive.

...

Over two hundred Imperial eagles emblazoned the hologlobe representing heavy cruisers, missile destroyers, battleships, and including a gold eagle representing the huge Emperor class capital ship Dominus Astra.

These figures give us the number of battleships, but nothing else. We do know there are at least 200 ships in Battlefleet Bakka, though, and we can infer from there. Given ~5 battleships and an equal number of battlecruisers, (inferred from above), that means that ~190 combined escorts and cruisers, given that, and given the minimal numbers we know, this tends to argue that the breakdowns above are probably consistent (40 or so cruisers and 120+ escorts.)

In conclusion, it is probably reasonable to expect battleships to number thousands to tens of thousands (more towards the latter.) Cruisers to number tens or hundreds of thousands (somewhere in the middle, say 80 to 100 thousand) and escorts to be many hundreds of thousands or several million (with a close to a million or a million escorts being a reasonable number.)

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Post by Falkenhayn » 2007-05-16 09:37pm

"First" Line and "Second" Line designations probably mean the difference between new Imperial designs and ships reactivated from Reserve Fleet depots. The Eye of Terror Campaign, and the Bastion Fleet List from BFG make many references to these ships/fleets. An event like the 13th Black Crusade would be grounds for mobilizing them.

IoM Reserve fleets feature primarily Murder, Slaughter, and Carnage Class vessels, normally associated with Chaos Fleets. They are also the home for the IoM's remaining Grand Cruisers, which are Battle Cruiser/Battleship hybrids. These reserve fleets (they are very much are fleets, as stated in BFG) are simply sitting unoccupied in stationary orbits over Fleet Bases (like Bakka), and Forge Worlds like Hydraphur.

Your essay is a very thorough appreciation of the IoM's active strength, however there is a very strong implication that substantial numbers of effective vessels are sitting in mothballs. This is primarily due to changes in doctrine, although some are rated as obsolescent/obsolete due to design features, like the Vengeance Class of Grand Cruisers.

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